Audi was the dominant manufacturer at the third race weekend of the season in the German GT Championship: after yesterday’s success, Charles Weerts (20/B) and Dries Vanthoor (22/B, both Team WRT) claimed a second victory for the brand with the four rings in Sunday’s race. Second place for Mercedes-AMG drivers Maximilian Buhk (28/Hamburg) and Raffaele Marciello (26/I, both Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR), and third place for Rolf Ineichen (42/CH) and Franck Perera (37/F, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) meant the podium featured three different manufacturers. “I really like the circuit here in Zandvoort and it is nice to have won here,” said winner Charles Weerts. “The whole weekend has been very good for us, with fifth place on Saturday, followed by pole and the win today.”
Key facts, CM.com Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, race 6 of 14
Circuit length: 4,259 metres
Weather: 22 degrees, overcast
Pole position: Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS), 1:33.931 minutes
Winners: Charles Weerts/Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS)
Fastest lap: Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS), 1:35.171 minutes
Vanthoor and Weerts dominate
The first half of the race was all about Audi Sport driver Dries Vanthoor. The Belgian started race six of the season from pole position and held onto the lead at the start. After that, opened a small gap ahead of the chasing Raffaele Marciello. By the time he came in for his mandatory pit stop at the halfway point of the race, and handed over to Charles Weerts, he had established a two-second cushion. Weerts took over where Vanthoor had left off and – despite a brief safety car phase to recover the Porsche of Sven Müller (29/Bingen am Rhein, Precote Herberth Motorsport) – maintained a commanding lead to take victory with a lead of 3.951 seconds. The young Belgian also won the Pirelli Junior competition.
Mercedes-AMG drivers Marciello and Buhk finished second to claim their second podium of the season. The duo had briefly dropped back to third place after the round of pit stops, but Buhk then wasted little time in retaking second place. Joining them on the podium for the first time in 2021 were Rolf Ineichen and Franck Perera (both GRT Grasser Racing Team), who came home third in the best-placed Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. This was enough to earn Ineichen victory in the Pirelli Trophy.
In fourth place were Jeffrey Schmidt (27/CH) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (27/Lucerne, both Callaway Competition) in their Corvette C7 GT3-R, ahead of the Mercedes-AMG pairing of Igor Waliłko (23/PL) and Jules Gounon (26/F, both Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing). The closing stages of the race were eventful, with Kim-Luis Schramm (23/Meuspath) and Dennis Marschall (24/Eggenstein, both Rutronik Racing by Tece) taking sixth place ahead of fellow Audi drivers Florian Spengler (33/Ellwangen) and Markus Winkelhock (41/Zdiměřice, both Car Collection Motorsport). They were followed home by a further two R8 LMS, with Luca-Sandro Trefz (19/Wüstenrot) and Christopher Haase (33/Kulmbach, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) crossing the finish line in eighth place, ahead of Jusuf Owega (19/Cologne) and Patric Niederhauser (29/CH, both Phoenix Racing).
Mirko Bortolotti (31/I) and Albert Costa Balboa (31/E, both GRT Grasser Racing Team), who started from third place on the grid, eventually had to settle for tenth place after ABS issues. Championship leaders Mathieu Jaminet (26/F) and Michael Ammermüller (35/Rotthalmünster, both SSR Performance) left empty handed after a late collision, followed by a spin caused by a puncture.
Quotes from the winners
Dries Vanthoor: “At the start of the race, I was a little worried about the dark clouds, but it stayed dry. The new tyres helped us, even though the circuit was really dirty. The Audi runs really well here and we were easily able to manage our lead in the race. Charles did a super job at the end and wrapped up the victory nicely.”
Charles Weerts: “Dries put us in a great position with pole position and his impressive stint. The safety car made it interesting again in the second half of the race, but after that I was still able to open up a nice lead.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters